The Alternate Routes are earning their name. They aren’t necessarily taking the beaten path to success.

The roots rock band has not had a big hit, in the classic sense, with a lot of radio airplay. But in December they got their anthem of hope, “Nothing More,” played in its entirety on the hot CBS TV drama “NCIS.”

And they got help with that song thanks to their work with a film star, Kevin Costner, who also has a band. While opening for Costner’s band, the Alternate Routes met his singing daughter, Lily Costner. And it’s her voice that’s heard singing backup on “Nothing More.”

“We were ready to go on stage in Pittsburgh and got a call from CBS, saying they wanted to use the song,” said Tim Warren, the band’s lead vocalist. “We’ve had snippets of songs on TV before, but not a whole song.”

The Alternate Routes will be playing Port City Music Hall in Portland on Friday.

The band features Warren and guitarist Eric Donnelly, though they record and perform with a supporting cast of musicians. So sometimes they sound like an acoustic duo, and sometimes like a raucous rock band.


“I think our music exists at an intersection of folk and singer-songwriter stuff, but we electrify it,” said Warren, 32. “Our shows can be a little experimental, a little explosive.”

Warren and Donnelly met at Fairfield University in Connecticut about a dozen years ago.

Since then, they’ve been building a fan base by playing a lot of shows and logging a lot of miles in their Ford van. So they know a lot about the traffic version of alternate routes, too.

Warren grew up in Farmington, Conn., a quintessential New England town outside of Hartford. He credits the public school music program there with helping to introduce him to a wide range of music. He said he was in choirs and other school groups beginning around the second grade.

“We learned about sacred music, and baroque, madrigals,” said Warren. “And I went through these little phases where I was into Led Zeppelin or Ella Fitzgerald or Soundgarden, and we could talk about all that (in school).”

The band’s break came in 2006 when their independently released song “Ordinary” got them a record deal with Vanguard. They recorded an album for Vanguard, “The Brooklawn Sessions,” and landed a performance on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” in 2007.


After two more releases, the band parted ways with Vanguard and went to Nashville to record the album “Lately,” featuring members of My Morning Jacket.

The band’s single “Nothing More” was inspired by the work of Newtown Kindness, a nonprofit group that facilitates and raises awareness of acts of kindness. The group was formed after the 2012 school killings in Newtown, Conn., and part of the proceeds from the single will go to it.

The song has an up-tempo, old-time string band sound, with melodic but powerful vocals. The mood of the song, and the lyrics, carry a message of somber strength and resilience.

“We are love, we are one/We are how we treat each other when the day is done/We are peace, we are war/We are how we treat each other and nothing more.”

Warren said he’s had requests from choirs who want to do the song. He loves that, he says, and would love to see others follow.

The official video for “Nothing More” shows home video footage of Warren’s sister, as a child, frolicking on a lawn with family.


“We just thought that would be good for that song, a child, a family,” said Warren.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: RayRouthier

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